Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chariots of Fire 1981

Since I couldn't get the theme from Chariots of Fire out of my head after hearing it almost daily at the medal ceremonies in London, I decided to watch the film again for the first time in 30 years. I was in high school the last time I saw this film, so it was all new again. And it was well worth revisiting.

Na na na na naaa naaah, na na na na naaah...

The story of two runners in the 1924 Olympics, one a religious Scotsman running for the glory of god, and the other a Jewish student at Cambridge, running to prove himself to the world, is especially compelling viewing if you were one of those who enjoyed watching the Olympics.  If you hated the recent coverage of the XXX Olympiad in London, then skip this post and wait for my next one on Jeeves and Wooster.

The Great Court Run at Trinity College, Cambridge won by Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross)

Harold Abrahams, played by Ben Cross is the student at Cambridge who is competing to prove himself to his classmates, his girlfriend and the world. There are class struggles and also some fairly overt discrimination which were certainly present in the 1920s more than now.

Ian Charleston as Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire

Eric Liddell, played by Ian Charleston is the religious Scot, born in China to missionary parents, who just loves to run. Originally a rugby player, he switched to running in order to attend the Olympics before he returned to China as a missionary himself.

Harold Abrahams at the finish line

I won't spoil the story for you if you have never seen Chariots of Fire or if it has been a while for you too. But you can't usually go wrong with a best picture winner and this one, based on a true story is no exception. For those fans of period drama, look out for Cheryl Campbell as Eric Liddell's devout sister Jennie. We know her as the long suffering Lady Carbury, mother of Matthew McFadyen's Sir Felix Carbury in The Way We Live Now. Alice Krige who plays the soprano girlfriend of Harold Abrahams, was recently seen as Lady Russell in the 2007 version of Persuasion with Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones.

And for your viewing pleasure, find below the clip of the theme from Chariots of Fire played at the Olympic Opening ceremony starring Rowan Atkinson in his Mr. Bean persona. Hilarious, even if you have already seen it. (The IOC wants you to watch it on their YouTube channel so just click on their link)


  1. I still haven't seen this movie, and it was one of my dad's absolute favorites of all time. Thanks for the review--now I must watch it. I also loved the Mr. Bean scene from the opening ceremonies--so funny!

    1. Hi Jane. Chariots of Fire is definitely worth a viewing. Your father had great taste.




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